Zoo animals contribute to science even in death
Even in death Auckland Zoo’s high profile animals continue to help animal conservation.
In August the Zoo put down Sumatran tiger Jaka after vets found a large inoperable tumour in his intestine. In April elderly giraffe Zabulu, father to 15 giraffe calves, died after falling ill and last year mother and son hippos Faith and Fudge passed away.
Auckland Zoo spends just under $2000 a year on burying or cremating its animals once they’ve passed away, a fraction of its $17.9 million annual operating expenditure.
Auckland Zoo spokeswoman Jane Healy said deaths were emotional and staff always had the ability to talk about and share their grief in a supportive environment.
The first thing the zoo does after the death is to carry out a post-mortem.
Depending on their size, some animals were cremated and some were buried. Most buried animals were buried off-site at an undisclosed location, Healy said.
In addition to its post-mortem findings, Auckland Zoo also kept tissue samples of animals, stored in a minus 150 degree freezer to ensure their preservation, Healy said.
Auckland Zoo’s Sumatran tiger Jaka was put down in August.